Histories & Culture
The Balbas

The Balbas were originally a single Kurdish qabilah until the tribe expanded and branched off into several subgroups, together known as the Balbas tribes.

During Ottoman times, the Balbas lived in the areas around Sharazor and Erbil, in present-day Iraq. However, conflicts between the tribe and the Baaban clans pushed part of the Balbas into the Lahijan region of Iran.

There are many theories about the origins of the Balbas. One links the tribe to the Khalidi qabilah, which traces its heritage back to the tribe of the Bani Khalid, and Khalid ibn al-Waleed, in Iraq, Nejad and the Levant. Other sources say that the Balbas are descended from the Ruzki qabilahs, which were made up of of 24 inter-related Kurdish tribes living in two neighboring villages of the Hikari province: Balbees and Qawalees. Still other stories tell that the Balbas and the Qawalees come from among the Baaban tribe, becoming a force to be reckoned with when they and seized the major city of the area.

The Balbas tribes are made up of five separate communities: the Nakur, the Mamish, the Biran, the Sinn, and the Ramak, with the Hulmziyar an offshoot of the Ramak.

The Balbas reside in the Iraqi governorate of Erbil, in the villages of Ranibah, Jawar Qarna, and successive villages up to the boundaries of Kuysanjaq. They also have a presence in the governorate of Suleymaniyya.

Source Article: بلباس
Translated from the Arabic by Andrew Leber,
Brown University, Class of 2012.